independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Student who suffered brain damage in car crash settles damages for €3m

A 20-YEAR-old honours student who suffered brain damage in a car crash has settled a High Court damages action for €3 million.

Rhona Murphy, the court heard, was not able to return to university and could not follow her dream to become a teacher after the car crash on the Galway-Headford Road in 1999.

 

Ms Justice Mary Irvine  said the big issues in the case was related to getting in to a car with somebody who had consumed quite a lot of alcohol  and whether Ms Murphy was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.

 

Ms Murphy of Corrib Park, Newcastle, Co Galway, had sued the driver of the car  as a result of the traffic accident on February 7, 1999,  when it was claimed owing to the driver’s negligence in overtaking another car on its left hand side, the vehicle went out of control and collided with another car travelling in the opposite direction.

 

It was claimed the driver was driving at a speed which was excessive, overtook on the inside when it was unsafe and dangerous to do so and was driving in a reckless, dangerous or careless manner.

 

Ms Murphy’s counsel, Liam Reidy, said she suffered a profound head injury and was lucky to survive the accident.

 

Her father, a taxi driver, had given up work to care for her and her two sisters.

 

Ms Murphy, counsel said, had been over optimistic about returning to college and had tried but was not successful.  She would not ever get follow her chosen career of teaching, he said.

The young woman, he said, suffered a second accident in the following year when she fell off a sets of steps while on holiday .

 

She now has challenges in relation to her memory and balance and has to take heavy medication, he said.

Ms Justice Irvine said it was a very complex case  as contributory  negligence would arise in relation to the  accident  as to whether Ms Murphy  was wearing a seatlbelt  along with the issue of getting into a car with somebody who had consumed quite a lot of alcohol.

 

The judge said €3million was a very good offer.

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